The Jets Should Absolutely Not Hire Bill Cowher As Next Head Coach

Liam McKeone
Bill Cowher
Bill Cowher / Drew Angerer/Getty Images
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The current members of the New York Jets coaching staff are probably packing their bags. Nobody survives a season like the one this team is having with their jobs intact. The Detroit Lions cleaned house after they went 0-16 in 2008. So did the Cleveland Browns after the 2016 season. The Jets are not yet 0-16, but at 0-12 and coming off the worst loss of the season, the outlook is not bright for head coach Adam Gase and his compatriots. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is already gone, canned this morning after his egregious play-call cost New York their first win of the year.

For those of us outside the building, Gase has been so bad that we've discussed who would replace him literally since Week 1 of this season. There are many options. They could try to convince Eric Bieniemy to leave Kansas City and engineer an offense around whichever quarterback they inevitably draft in the top three come April. They could give Robert Salah a call, he's San Francisco's defensive coordinator and one of the hottest head coaching prospects on the market. There are also a half-dozen former head coaches currently unemployed who would be interested in getting back in the game.

If the Jets do end up securing the top overall pick in the draft and land Trevor Lawrence, the job opening will be even more attractive. Boomer Esiason discussed the situation with cohost Gregg Giannotti on his morning show on WFAN today, and had some interesting things to say. Including hinting that Bill Cowher, Esiason's coworker on CBS NFL Today, might have interest. Via WFAN:

"And then, Gio brought out the “one million to one” shot that checks all the boxes: former Pittsburgh boss (and Boomer’s CBS NFL Today colleague) Bill Cowher...and when he said “but that’ll never happen,” Boomer perked up. “Really? What do you mean it’s never going to happen?” Boomer asked, and when Gio defended himself, Boomer laughed, insinuating he might have a different opinion. “All I know is that yesterday, he was showing me and Nate (Burleson) film of him coaching on the sideline where he was mic’ed up, and we looked at each other like, ‘hmm, what does that mean?’” Boomer said. “Is he sending a message? I’ve worked with him for 14 years and I’ve never seen that.” Boomer did note that Cowher is 63 years old, but “he is a really fit 63 years old.” “He was saying to me yesterday, he’s the one that told me the Jets job is going to be really attractive, and they could hire whomever they want,” Boomer said, “and he told me he loves Joe Douglas.”"

It is important to note that this is, by no means, an official report that Cowher wants to coach again and wants the Jets job. But since the possibility has now been put out into the universe, let's ruminate on it together, shall we?

Cowher was an excellent coach during his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He went 161-99-1 over 14 years, appeared in the playoffs in nine of those 14 seasons, and won a Super Bowl. The Steelers were regularly one of the NFL's best defensive teams under his tutelage. He joined CBS after he stepped down as head coach following the 2007 and hasn't looked back -- until now, if Esiason is to be believed.

All that said, the Jets should not hire Cowher. It reeks of Tom Coughlin being hired by the Jacksonville Jaguars to run football operations a few years ago. Cowher was a good coach, but he's 63-years-old, even if he is in fact a "really fit 63-years-old". The last time he was coaching, the Patriots were introducing the spread offense to everybody and confusing defenses by consistently going hurry-up. The game has changed dramatically over the last 13 years. Even if Cowher has remained close to it through his analyst role, that's not anywhere near the same thing as being on the front lines in that same timespan.

The Jets just have so many other options. If it was 2009, I'd call Cowher as sure a hire as it gets, but it's 2020. Taking a swing on a young coordinator or, at the very least, someone who has been on the sideline any time in the last decade is a better risk to take with what's at stake. Cowher could very well be a good coach, or he could be another example of an old-timer that the game has passed by. Do the Jets really want to be the team that finds out which it is after the last few seasons of utter ineptitude? They do not. Cowher would bring name recognition and get Jets fans excited again, but that's about it.

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